Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Today, I want to tackle a question that everyone wants answered.
It is a topic that frequently comes up in conversations with friends, travel acquaintances, and people we work with here at Nomad Capitalist. But it’s not a question that many people truly know how to answer – at least not from experience.
But I do.
What’s the question?
How can I become a multimillionaire?
Currently, if you want to be in the top 1% in the United States, you have to be worth about $10.3 million. The threshold is lower to become part of the global 1%, but the decamillionaire level serves as a rough benchmark to aim for.
And if you want to become an ultra-high-net-worth individual, you have to beat that $10.3 million by several times – by definition, only a fraction of a fraction of people will ever achieve this.
But let’s start at the beginning: How do you increase your net worth, build generational wealth, and become a decamillionaire?
To do this, you have to think about things differently than over 99% of people. You have to eke out every small advantage and opportunity that you have at your disposal to accomplish this goal.
Nomad Capitalism gives you the tools to do this.
While most people think that the country they live in is fixed, as well as their tax rates and a plethora of other conditions, we take a first-principles approach here at Nomad Capitalist. We aren’t content with just accepting current circumstances as they are. Instead, we actively try to change the factors that seem immovable. Just to start with:
- Do you live in the best country under the best system on Earth? Chances are, the answer is no. The best country for you massively depends on the goals you set for yourself and how you’re trying to achieve those dreams.
- Are you maximizing the returns on your investments? Perhaps you’ve invested in real estate, stocks, etc., but your country likely doesn’t have the best-performing version of those assets.
- Are you well-diversified? Maybe you think that your different income streams can weather any storm, but most people only think locally and fail to diversify politically and geographically as well. So, despite being diversified into many industries and asset classes, their assets are all susceptible to events and market impacts in one area of the world.
Becoming a Nomad Capitalist gets you focused on long-term value creation by looking at where you are and the opportunities around you and asking yourself, “Is this the best value proposition in the world?”
When most of us have to answer “no” to that question, we can begin using the Nomad Capitalist approach to rebuild our lifestyle from the ground up to know with certainty that we are following the optimal path forward.
So, when I recently saw the article, “6 Steps to Becoming a Decamillionaire, From a Man Who Started Out Broke” written by my friends over at Early To Rise, it only seemed natural to address how to become a multimillionaire from the Nomad Capitalist perspective.
In this article, we will first examine how to cultivate the intentional mindset that will set you on the path toward becoming a decamillionaire. Then, we will review the eight principles you need to master to learn how to become a multimillionaire. They are:
- Focus On Goals, Not Numbers
- Take More Risks
- Rely On Yourself
- Set Targets
- Increase Your Active Income
- Save More Than You Spend
- Live Wealthy, Live Rich
- Diversify What’s Left
If you are like many of my clients living in the US who make a million a year but can never get to decamillionaire status thanks to taxes, living expenses, and keeping up the Joneses, this article is for you. I see it all the time: folks earning $1,000,000 a year who only manage to save $75,000 annually.
It’s time to change that.
This article is for the people who want to 10x their life and become a decamillionaire, build generational wealth, and cement their position as an ultra-high-net-worth individual. And it all starts with mindset…
Cultivate An Intentional Mindset
I remember back in my early twenties when I cracked the six-figure income threshold for the first time in my life. I was over the moon and thought I was king of the world.
But over time, I realized that despite the fact that I had achieved more than most people ever do in a lifetime, I had invited complacency. If I compared myself to the average, by default, I was already doing better than half the people just by turning up.
But I wasn’t satisfied with merely being “above average”.
Instead, I began to look to the top to not only beat those people but to be inspired by them. It’s like the old saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s time to find another room.”
So, I began to look up and associate with the elite to learn how to become a multimillionaire. As expected, the way they thought was completely different than the average person.
If you actually want to improve and reach your potential, find people who have already been down the road you are trying to explore. Put yourself in a space with people who are at a level beyond yours and slowly try to emulate their behaviors.
Then, be sure you don’t fall for the trap of believing that because you might associate with these individuals, or you’ve picked their brain, it is enough.
I’ve occasionally chatted with people who have asked me for advice and I have gladly explained to them how to become a millionaire. Fast forward a year, maybe two, and I bumped into them again. When I asked them how their plans had been going, they sheepishly told me that “life got in the way.”
Under normal circumstances, this type of excuse is believable – on the surface level. Yet, look at what people are up to in the COVID-19 pandemic when so many of those excuses have been removed… most will be binging on Netflix rather than building anything worthwhile.
If you truly want to be the fraction of a percent who actually accomplish their grand ambitions of becoming a multimillionaire, you can’t make excuses. I’ll put it bluntly, to make my point clear:
You are not going to get what you want unless you are willing to sacrifice something in return.
Everyone out there wants money. If it were easy to get, everyone would be rich. You have to walk the path that nobody else will take to get where few have been before.
But you know this already.
Here’s the thing: It’s not enough to know it.
You have to feel it and align your emotional being with the possibility and then act to make it a reality. You have to cultivate an intentional mindset.
That’s why going offshore is a step in the right direction. No one goes offshore unintentionally. You cannot take your business, your investments, and even yourself beyond everything you’ve ever known to achieve something greater unless you intend for it to make a difference.
But most importantly, you must become the kind of person who can both create and maintain wealth – not just because of how you live but because of who you are.
Learning the mindset of those who know how to become a decamillionaire and how to remain one is often more important than acquiring the fortune in and of itself.
Wealth is merely a character amplifier.
That is why the eight tips that follow are much more about mindset than they are about specific investment strategies or business ideas. As you apply these steps and fully internalize them, you will know how to become a multimillionaire because of who you become as a person.
1. Focus On Goals, Not Numbers
Bodybuilders have a problem when they measure their weight. Because muscle is denser than fat, they can gain weight while looking better.
But because of the negative associations that most people have with weight gain, someone new to working out may have a difficult time seeing the numbers on the scale go up. And because they can’t handle the numbers, their progress is cut short.
A similar thing happens with wealth. Often, the people who become rich, though not extraordinarily wealthy, did so by being very careful with how they spend their money. That’s a good thing. You should be careful with your money, just as a bodybuilder is careful with what they eat and how and when they work out.
The difference is in the focus and motivation.
The numbers on the scale are just one metric reflecting progress toward a larger goal. Fluctuations are normal and sometimes necessary to achieve the ultimate goal. When your ultimate goal is to become a millionaire, don’t let the numbers get in the way.
Focus on long-term goals instead.
With each business and investment decision you make, consider its impact five, ten, even twenty years from today.
Now, I am not immune to the pitfalls of obsessing over numbers. You should be obsessed with the numbers. You have to make money when you buy. But there have been times when I almost passed up a fantastic investment opportunity because the numbers were not exactly what I wanted.
For example, a couple of years ago, I bought a place and paid a few thousand dollars over what I thought it was worth. It eventually became worth much more than that, but I was initially afraid to pull the trigger because the numbers weren’t quite perfect.
I wanted to get an excellent deal, but what I got instead was a very good deal in a location that everyone wanted. Even before I finished renovating, people were making offers to buy it. This is why I’m far more interested in paying a fair price for a fantastic real estate asset than a great price for a mediocre one.
Owning an asset that is in demand is essential.
Yes, you want to make money when you buy. Yes, you want to have good returns. (That’s why I encourage my clients to go where they’re treated best where they can get higher yields instead of the measly 2% they earn in many western economies.)
But I would rather invest in something with imperfect numbers that is going to have great value five, ten, even twenty years from now vs. a cheap property in some suburb where I could maybe get an extra fraction of a percent more yield in the immediate future.
You have to think long-term.
Focusing on minor fluctuations is missing the overall point. Instead, ask yourself what will happen in the long-term if you make this investment or business decision today. If it’s not going to matter five years from now, don’t give it more than five minutes of thought.
I’ve seen this dilemma play out in the lives of my clients as well. Because of the overwhelming costs of US citizenship, many clients seek out a second passport so that they can renounce their US citizenship in favor of another, more tax-friendly citizenship.
But even when they understand the cost of maintaining their US citizenship, some clients opt for the slow and beleaguered route toward second citizenship and eventual renunciation because they’re afraid of a short-term loss.
Donating $100,000 to instantly get a Caribbean passport sounds like a high price tag until you look at the long-term and realize that this second passport could save you millions of dollars in taxes annually.
The easiest way to become a multimillionaire is to keep more of your money in the first place instead of handing it over to the taxman. What does it matter if you have to spend a little upfront to legally free yourself from those tax obligations when you can accelerate your timeline to decamillionaire status by doing so?
2. Take More Risks
Here’s a difficult fact to accept: your 9-5 job is not how to become a multimillionaire.
Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers.
Even if you have a $1,000,000 per year salary in a 0% tax rate country, it would take over a decade of saving 100% of your income to reach $10,000,000. Even if we add compound interest and healthy returns during that period, it will take much longer than we would like.
In other words, despite what anyone else might tell you, if your goal in life is to become ultra-wealthy, then staying at your 9-to-5 is quite risky. If your intention is a middle-class lifestyle, then maybe a traditional job is exactly for you, but it won’t lead to becoming a decamillionaire.
Instead, you need to learn to take more risks in what at least most people think is risky.
We’ve had people come to us who have become centimillionaires by investing in cryptocurrency. To them, it’s not risky. We’ve also had people who have sold businesses for hundreds of millions of dollars and who have raised money for multi-billion-dollar companies. And to them, it wasn’t risky.
It has become a part of who they are and what they do. They understand what they are doing and where it is going to take them, so it’s not a risk.
True risk is working at a job and hoping you’ll get to that million-dollar level so that you can eventually retire and become a multimillionaire. But even a million dollars is not going to give you a millionaire’s retirement lifestyle.
More importantly, you can’t hope your way to becoming a decamillionaire. You have to take more of the right kind of risk.
Now, personally, I hate risk. But I define “risk” differently than others. I find mediocrity risky for my wellbeing, finances, and self-conception. So, I view the well-trodden path as particularly hazardous.
Contrary to popular belief, my lifestyle is far less risky than the normal person’s lifestyle. When your average Joe sees the way I live, they think I’m driving a car at high speed hoping I don’t crash.
After all, I have business deals all over the planet in countries that most people would find rather risky. But I’m extremely well diversified. Most of society has a single source of income – their job. And most folks can barely go a paycheck without going into the red.
I would call this extremely risky!
I’m also hesitant about the other path that some people go down – the lottery ticket payoff – where they are relying on a singular event to change their lifestyle forever. But depending on someone or something else to make you rich is probably the riskiest proposition of them all. Which is what brings us to my third tip…
3. Rely On Yourself
You do not have to be in the habit of buying lottery tickets to fall prey to the lottery ticket mindset. People in all kinds of industries and walks of life are hoping for a singular event to change everything.
This mindset is one of the greatest obstacles to wealth because it essentially removes your power and responsibility to act to achieve your goals.
If you want to become a millionaire, you need to give yourself the full power to actively make money and make it work for you, not just passively receive it.
The world’s most successful and wealthy entrepreneurs didn’t amass their millions through a single event or from a windfall in the stock market. They capitalized on the most powerful tool at their disposal: themselves.
Want to know how to become a multimillionaire? Rely on yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, assets like cryptocurrency and gold are great hedges, but I’m not a guy who goes all-in on anything. I believe in diversification. Plus, going from $5 million one day to $100 million is a little freaky to me. I like sustainable long-term wealth building.
If you want to ensure your success, pursue endeavors where the outcome depends on you – not the market, algorithms, or anything else.
Because, at the end of the day, you are your greatest asset.
You can lose your fortune, you can lose your assets, but what you won’t lose any time soon is your mind and abilities therein.
Now, you need diversification because you can never totally rely on yourself – that’s why I keep a portion of my wealth in an easily accessible and stable format, like bonds and precious metals, which would allow me to start again in an emergency – but if you can build a business and figure out how to grow that, that’s going to be the winning ticket.
And if your focus is on how to become a millionaire, figure out how to be a builder. Build a business that will still be around ten, twenty years from now – thriving and bigger than ever.
This will give you options down the road to sell your business or arrange to receive an annuity from it, potentially for millions of dollars a year. This way, you are relying on something you built, so you know the foundation is sure.
Even athletes and entertainers who make millions and millions of dollars eventually get into business – at least the smart ones – because it’s the one thing that everyone can do well with if they have that long-term mindset.
Business is the great equalizer.
Your success relies on you, your work ethic, your vision, and the value you can provide to others. If you can trust yourself to do that successfully, learn to rely on and invest in yourself so that you can create wealth long-term.
4. Set Targets
Why do you want to be a decamillionaire? What does that get you?
The senseless pursuit of more profit without rhyme or reason is not going to lead you to happiness. There is always a bigger fish in the sea and “more” is not a worthwhile goal in and of itself – not in the broad scheme of things.
You likely want money to accomplish something specific – be it status, power, or a specific lifestyle. Rather than focus on something that can scale infinitely, why not focus on the target you really want?
Far be it of me to criticize capitalism, but if you don’t want your every waking moment to be consumed by the thought of getting “more”, then it’s sensible to keep your eye on the prize, rather than the means to achieve it.
Start with the end in mind and work backward to determine what is necessary to achieve this goal. Set targets for both business and life. Write things down. Set metrics to understand what you need to live an abundant life and work from there.
How much money do you spend yearly? How much will you spend in the future taking into account the changing costs over time with children, age, etc.? Then, determine whether you have the means to replace this income in a passive manner.
Recently, Mrs. H and I sat down to figure out our numbers, not because we’re in a rush to stop working any time soon, but because we want the ability to stop if desired and we understand the importance of setting concrete goals rather than simply aspiring to have “more”.
After running the numbers, we jointly came to a lump sum of $150,000 yearly. Depending on your lifestyle, this might seem like a lot or a little.
We came to this sum because we already have our real estate in various countries paid off. Coincidentally, a good portion of those countries tend to be on the cheaper side, and wherever we go, we like to enjoy dinners, go to shows, fly in comfort, buy nice things, and have quality possessions in our homes.
Your figure will be different than ours. But once you calculate this amount, you can then determine the active income and rate of return needed to achieve this number. You can then design your investment portfolio and forecast what it is going to yield.
Aside from your day-to-day lifestyle costs, you will also need to calculate how much money you will need to put aside so that, in the case of an emergency, you have the necessary funds to start over again.
The beauty of being a Nomad Capitalist is that by legally keeping more of your own money, you can put more money aside, take fewer risks, and demand more from your active capital because you have put it in places that have higher returns, higher appreciation, or lower risk.
As you figure out your numbers, you can set targets and work towards them. Don’t hesitate to consider everything. It’s not enough to know how to become a millionaire, you need to know why you want it and how to make it work for you.
5. Increase Your Active Income
Let’s imagine, for argument’s sake, that a freak accident occurs and every single investment and every single cent I have in my bank accounts go to zero. This is straining credulity but let’s take the thought experiment to its logical conclusion.
I would of course be angry. After all, those millions of dollars represent decades worth of effort. Despite this, I have a network of contacts, I have Nomad Capitalist as a business, my social media presence, and the knowhow to start and run a successful company.
It would be a setback at most, and I could reach and surpass my present wealth in a short amount of time. This is how I’m shockproof, whatever life throws my way, I will be fine.
My skills are unique and in demand, so even if I were to lose it all, I could bounce back.
It’s simply easier to make money through active income. Some successful entrepreneur friends of mine have told me that they just haven’t had time to invest their money because they are so busy growing their business.
Their path to success was through active income.
Obviously, some people do very well trading currencies, stocks, and crypto. You can have a high-value skill that involves passive income. For instance, you could be a crypto expert and make money doing that.
But if you are at the beginning of your journey to becoming a decamillionaire, ask yourself, what is your high-value skill?
Having an active income rather than relying on something else is the best way to join the ultra-wealthy.
6. Save More Than You Spend
This is basic finance 101: you cannot outearn your spending. No matter how much you make, if you spend more than what you earn, eventually you will run out.
Look at celebrities like Nicolas Cage. Ever wonder why he can appear in fantastic movies only to then appear in a string of barely watchable shlock? It’s because he has poor impulse control and lives far beyond his means.
He has a high-value skill and a large active income, but no financial sense.
Instead of investing the returns that he gets from movies, he uses them to service the debts of his unsustainable lifestyle, including buying islands, mansions, castles, and even a pyramid as a tomb.
He is trapped in a cycle where he earns money, spends it, and then gets his agent to put him in a lot of movies. Unfortunately, with each bad movie he is in, he erodes his brand name. Eventually, nobody will remember the good Nicholas Cage films because his bad film legacy so vastly overshadows the good.
It all comes back to sustainability.
You cannot use your high-value skill as a crutch to enable bad behavior. Each of these tips works together with the others to enable you to become a multimillionaire and remain so.
But saving more than you spend does not mean you have to live in poverty. That would completely defeat the point of becoming wealthy in the first place.
Instead, what I am suggesting is that you actually think about the value of your money and what it is that you’re getting out of it.
If you’ve ever ridden a limousine, for example, it’s an uncomfortable experience. The ceiling is too low and your driver has to be careful because the car is simply too long and the streets were not designed for that type of vehicle.
Compare that to being driven around in a more understated luxury car like an Aston Martin or Mercedes Benz. It’s cheaper, but you actually enjoy the experience.
This is why setting targets is so important. Without them, you could spend your millions without getting what you actually want. Knowing your goals can help save you from unnecessary expenses that will eat away at your wealth without satisfying your needs.
For example, I am building a portfolio of properties around the world that suits every need I have. I am not spending 90% of my income on accumulating real estate for personal use, but I am investing in my lifestyle based on my specific needs.
Diversification is important, even when it comes to how much you spend and why.
7. Live Wealthy, Live Rich
Doing things because you’re expected to do them as a rich person is not the way to happiness, or to keep your wealth in the first place. The same applies to being too frugal and dreading spending a single penny of your fortune.
That is why saving more than you spend and living rich go together. They seem like they wouldn’t, but it all comes back to understanding the role of money in the first place.
Money is a means to achieve your goals – nothing more, nothing less. Once you understand this, you will be able to think more rationally about money.
I have a friend/client who is a psychotherapist who frequently has to tell his patients that if they are afraid to spend money, it will negatively impact their ability to make money.
That doesn’t mean that you should go out and waste money on stupid purchases. And it’s not permission to ignore the numbers, either. It simply means that you shouldn’t be so tight-fisted and obsessed with the numbers that you don’t enjoy life and get to the next level.
If you’re terrified of spending money, you will let fear rule over you and you will pass on fantastic business opportunities because of inconsequential costs in the grand scheme of things.
Instead, don’t be afraid to reward yourself. If you have a great month or quarter in your business, maybe you buy yourself a nice watch. Do you need it? No. But it can cement in your mind where you’re going.
These are the things that successful people do.
This is beyond the millionaire-next-door level. If you have active income-earning abilities and a high-value skill, you can become the decamillionaire who lives the way that they want to, which may include spending money on quality goods, services, and experiences.
8. Diversify What’s Left
Almost every decamillionaire I know or have read about is well diversified. Like the centimillionaire crypto investor, there are a few who aren’t, but if you want to be sustainably wealthy, diversification is key.
We regularly discuss diversification strategies here at Nomad Capitalist, including:
- Having bank accounts in multiple countries,
- Having money that is more than just a number on a bank computer,
- Having a cash position,
- Having precious metals,
- Having real estate investments and rental real estate,
- Owning the properties you live in, and
- Doing everything within your power to ensure that you don’t have to start over again.
That is, after all, one of the greatest fears of the wealthy. What if it all falls apart?
Being diversified eliminates that threat.
Remove the risk from your life by diversifying across assets as well as countries. Your citizenship can be just as much a liability as a debt owed to a bank (which you should avoid as well).
That is why we help our clients create holistic offshore plans. The best way to grow and protect your wealth is to put it where it is treated best, and that is often a combination of many different countries that each offer something unique while also giving you diversification.
The central tenet of the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle is to go where you are treated best – every other idea or maxim is indirectly derived from this core principle.
Contrary to what you might initially think, “going where you’re treated best” isn’t solely about changing geographic location, it’s also about doing business with those who will value your work and taking your money to the most stable investments that will yield the highest results.
Most importantly, it is an intentional mindset shift toward striving for something better in life and not just accepting whatever path is initially laid out for you.
Living intentionally means choosing where you go, how you live, and how you earn and grow your wealth.
That is why the Nomad Capitalist mindset is likelier to lead you to become a multimillionaire. You are the person in control of your life. It’s up to you to decide if you will go where you’re treated best.
We want to hear your thoughts. Comment below: What are your goals for creating wealth? Why do you want to grow wealth? Which tip resonates most with you? Which one would you say is the most important? What would you add?